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Remarks by Acting National Director Chris Garcia at the Small Business Matters Entrepreneurship Summit

National Urban League

Stephanie DeVane, VP Entrepreneur/Biz Centers; Denise Miles. SVR Corporate Responsibility; Chris Garcia, Acting National Director, MBDA; and Vera Jeffrey, Manager Community Economic Partnership MO Department of Economic Development


Good morning! I bring you greetings on behalf of the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Minority Business Development Agency. I’d like to thank the National Urban League Chairman Michael Neidorff, President Mr. Marc Morial and the members of the board for extending this invitation to join you today. Last week I had the pleasure of visiting with you at your headquarters in New York. Thank you for being a gracious host. Congratulations on the success of your 2017 convention.

Joining me today from MBDA –  Special Assistant to the Secretary and my Sr. Advisor. CJ Jordan, Chief of the Office of Business Development Joann Hill, and Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Specialist Shayla Moon.

I have the honor of leading the Minority Business Development Agency into the 21st century and partnering with NUL to support economic development across the minority business community.

I am an entrepreneur first and foremost just as my father was. I started three businesses --- two of which failed. Guess the third time was the charm, Because of this I know first-hand that small business matters. So for me joining MBDA is a homecoming of sorts and an opportunity to help other minority enterprises overcome the challenges I faced along with so many of you right here in the room.

For those who are not familiar with our agency, MBDA is an operating bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce. We are the only federal agency solely dedicated to promoting the growth and global competitiveness of all minority-owned firms, for nearly 50 years.

How do we do that? We provide access to:

Capital – traditional, alternative
Contracts – Fed, state, local, or corporate supplier diversity channels
Exporting opportunities and global markets – reduce trade deficit
Access to sister agencies across the federal government

We do this through our national network of 42 MBDA Business Centers. In essence, MBDA is designed to help you grow from the start-up phase and to the next level.

As a Nation we are in a time of transition economically, politically and socially and sometimes transitions can bring a level of uncertainty for everyone. So what does that mean for you as small business owners? I believe it means new opportunities, specifically for greater economic growth and development but only if we all work together.

The White House is committed to investing greater resources into the minority business community and helping you not just survive but thrive for the long-term. Yesterday I was in Miami to speak with the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators, and Developers. As Dr. Bill Pickard so eloquently puts it “black and brown makes green”. He talks about how as minorities, Black Americans, brown Americans, Americans of all shades, American of all colors have to stick together to make green.

Even though we may come from different backgrounds, we’re all Americans, we all have the same pursuit to provide for our families and the same pursuit to leave a legacy for our children so that they do not have to endure the same struggles that we’ve battled during our lifetimes.

We just want the opportunity, this is where MBDA fits in, we just want the opportunity to compete and to compete fairly on a level playing field.  

That’s where the Minority Business Development Agency fits in. MBDA’s vision is economic prosperity for all Americans, and our mission is to ensure that minority-owned firms can continue to grow, create jobs, and compete in both the domestic and global markets. That mission has not changed and its one of the key reasons we are extremely proud to partner with NUL.  

Small Business Matters because you are the engine of the American economy. Did you know that a stunning 99.7 percent of all American businesses are small businesses? And no fewer than 57 million Americans work for small businesses – nearly half of all private-sector jobs in the United States. Our economy, from coast to coast, depends every day on small businesses.

We congratulate the National Urban League on this year's successful conference and Summit. Your success is a testament to the value of the National Urban League to the fabric of our great nation. MBDA, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the White House are proud to stand with you to continue our shared commitment in support of the African American community and all minority businesses. Thank you